Near the start of what was called the Arab Spring the people of Egypt witnessed the removal of their President and Evil Dictator Mubarak and awaited what were to be real free elections for a new President and for Egyptian Hope and Change. The election did not exactly prove to produce the liberating governance the Egyptians had so hoped for. The result in Egypt and throughout the countries which were initiating or striving to initiate change now faced what had been renamed the Arab Winter. The results did not quite measure up and fulfill the Hopes for Change that had driven the initial uprisings. Now Egypt is experiencing buyers’ remorse or is it reMorsi. They have come to the realization that the new boss is not all that different than the old boss; he simply has a slightly different dogma which results in the exact same practices. The protesters are still being shot and murdered. Those arrested still face torture and people still simply disappear. But the people of Egypt are going to find that their new oppressors are far more difficult to remove than was Mubarak as the new oppressions have the backing and support of Allah.
Having the professed support and direction of Allah and the religious class of Imams means you are facing forces who can define all who oppose them to be apostates. Once any group has been labeled as apostates they become enemies of Allah. Once they become enemies of Allah they can also become the target of Jihad. Once you have become a target of Jihad you then can face a Fatwa used as a death sentence that frees the hands of the believers to bring you to justice, the justice of final judgment of the grave. This provides President Morsi with his backing of the Muslim Brotherhood legitimacy far greater and more dangerous than Mubarak could ever have claimed. Mubarak could only claim the legitimacy of the State, the same claim that could be made by the people who were calling for the overthrow of the tyrant Mubarak. Morsi can claim the legitimacy of Allah with the literal blessings of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Imams and thus has legitimacy beyond that the demonstrators can ever hope to claim. Morsi can claim that he is performing the will of Allah which makes any opposition to his will an act of blasphemy which can often result in death. This will make Morsi that much more difficult to replace, and even should such be accomplished, would the next leader chosen by either the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists be any improvement? Very likely they would be as bad if not worse.
The pro-democracy supporters, tempted to call them dreamers as they have little tangible power, might have had an opportunity to pull Morsi from taking power very early after he assumed the Presidency. That is no longer the case as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood made some shrewd maneuvers rather quickly after assuming power. They revamped the top brass in the Egyptian Military retiring many of the Generals and other senior officers replacing them with members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also promoted replacements who were also members of the Muslim Brotherhood who had managed to infiltrate the military while Mubarak was in power. Now Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood hold all the levers of power as they have replaced the necessary people in the state police and other enforcement arms of the government cementing their rule. Egypt will continue to appear to be a democratic country but in reality the winning candidates will be chosen by the Muslim Brotherhood. In many ways it is a real shame that the Egyptian people who were the original protesters were not the ones who had the organization and the funds to run and win the national elections they deserved after they had given the initial impetus for change. Now they have received change, received change but not hope.
The really sad part of the story of the Arab Spring turned Winter is that the current forces throughout the Middle East and the Arab and Muslim Worlds will lead every country which is able to forge change and will be more likely than not to end up going from their nationalist rule to theocratic Islamic rule. Even Turkey which had been organized by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to be a guarded sectarian democracy where the military was charged by the Constitution of Turkey to enforce the country’s secular nature and to remove and call for new election should Islamists ever try to compromise the modern secular nature of the country. Unfortunately, the blindness and ignorance of the European Union and its individual nations along with the United States under President Bush with advice given by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded the Turkish military stand down at the crucial point at which Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan crossed over the point of no return in his implementation of plans to alter Turkey from a secular state to one based on Sharia. The main reasons behind this reality is that the majority of the population of these countries were raised completely on Islam and either in isolation from the Western World or with an animosity for the Western World as they had a resentment of being colonized after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Western influences have had an effect on the youth in many of these countries but there are also a significant sector among the youth who are strict Islamic adherents which serves as a further reason for the overwhelming influence and power held by the Muslim Brotherhood. If Western culture and secular science based civilization manages to survive for another century, then the Islamic world may experience a reformation which will allow for a separation between Mosque and Government. If such is not the case, I do not even pretend to be able to predict what would follow. My hope is that should Islam become the dominant force on Earth they would progress forward with a rebirth of the early writings from the Mecca Koran coming into prominence. That could allow for a pluralistic society with freedom if not quite complete equality for all peoples, even non-Muslims. The coming years are going to be a crucial period where much will be held in judgment and the progress of all mankind will be in the balance. The next century will either usher in an age of unlimited brightness and discoveries or darkness where war, pestilence, and hatreds rule the earth, the seas, the skies, and the hearts of mankind.
Beyond the Cusp